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How to encourage your child to thrive rather than push to succeed

My interpretation of a thriving child means a child happy in their learning, happy in their relationships and confident in themselves. If a child feels all of these things than I believe that they will thrive in their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.

To illustrate this lets imagine child A (lets call him Ted). Ted is from a happy home where he knows he is loved and valued for who he is. He is encouraged to work hard at his school work, always doing his best work. School is not the focus of his life. His parents expose him to lots of different learning experiences and incidental learning from cooking to bushwalks to riding a bike. He is encouraged to be kind to others and has interaction with a wide range of people. His parents have instilled in him the importance of being responsible and that there are consequences of the decisions that he makes. Ted is thriving.

On the other hand, child B (for the purpose of this blog we’ll call him Joe) has parents who also love him but the focus of his life is his school work. He comes home from school and completes his homework but also completes additional work that his parents have found for him from text books available from an educational bookstore. He has expectations placed on him such as how many certificates his parents expect him to receive by the end of each term and he is scolded for poor grades. He has limited interaction with other children other than siblings and those he comes across at school and in tutoring classes.

Long term I would expect Ted (child A) to be happy and thriving in his life. Joe on the other hand will possibly always feel as though he is not doing well enough and lack the social skills that Ted would have learnt through his experiences. He may always compare his own achievements or lack thereof with others.

As parents it is easy to take it all too seriously. Consider how different the world is now compared to what it was like when we were at school. We weren’t emailing our assignments in to our teachers or searching YouTube for a demonstration on how a car engine works. If our children are confident learners then they will adapt to the many changes that they will face in the world in their lifetime with ease.

We need to relax a little, enjoy the wonders of the world with our children and have fun doing it. Our children will be all the better for it. They will succeed if we let them rather than push them.

This piece was originally written for Kidspot as part of their Bright Buddies series, sponsored by Kelloggs.

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